Joseph Imbriaco, the new general manager for the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, first visited the Queen City when he was a teenager in the 1990s, on his way to vacation in Bar Harbor with his family. A lot has changed in the nearly 20 years since.
“Obviously, it’s changed a lot, and there’s been considerable development,” said Imbriaco, 31, who is living out of a hotel room until he can officially move to Bangor next month with his wife and two young children. “But the general feel is still there. It’s a very open, welcoming community, with that classic, historic New England feel.”
Imbriaco started his position at the Global Spectrum-managed facility on Thursday, the day after former general manager Mike Dyer left the company after a year and a half with Global Spectrum and 25 years running the Bass Park complex. Though Imbriaco has been in the city for less than a week, he said he’s excited to get to work on programming for the arena and continuing to build the Bangor market.
“What excites me about the Bangor market is that it’s an emerging market, and we are all going to figure out together what this market responds to as we program,” said Imbriaco. “This is a multipurpose facility, and it’s not just all about concerts — it’s about trade shows, conventions, other events. The sky’s the limit, because there is no preconceived notion about what Bangor wants.”
Imbriaco is a New Jersey native and a 2004 graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he majored in broadcast journalism. While in college, he began working at the Colonial Life Arena, a Global Spectrum-managed facility on the USC campus. Imbriaco also has worked at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and at the John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, before returning to the Colonial Life Arena, where he was assistant general manager for the past two years.
“I stumbled into this industry a little bit. When I was in college, the Colonial Life opened, and there were job opportunities there for ticket taking and ushering. I thought it would be a fun job and a way to see basketball games and concerts,” said Imbriaco. “From that experience I learned about this whole career field, this whole ‘Wizard of Oz,’ man behind the curtain thing … I liked that, being the person behind the scenes that makes it happen.”
Imbriaco is aware of some of the specificities of the Cross Insurance Center — from the ongoing concerns from both patrons and community members about the traffic situation on Main and Buck streets, to the ways in which established events such as the Bangor State Fair will change shape going forward.
“There’s certainly no reason to turn our back on what the auditorium and convention did successfully in the past, and even build upon it,” said Imbriaco. “I think it would be our mistake not to find synergy with an event like the fair. There are lots of opportunities there to connect what we’re doing at the arena with the fair, and we’re looking at all of them to see what will work best.”
In the meantime, Imbriaco is settling into his new job and getting ready to welcome the community to the arena’s next event — the BDN Maine Garden Show and Spring Fling, set for April 4-6.
“I’m sure people are looking forward to spring. I mean, people were wearing shorts at the boat show last weekend,” said Imbriaco. “It’s going to be a nice introduction to Bangor, for me at least, to be here as spring is starting. I’m really looking forward to meeting people, to getting to know the business community, to starting to make Bangor home.”